Jeffrey Parkinson, Teacher, Hopewell Valley Central High School. I enrolled at Villanova as a graduate student in history in the summer of 2013. Prior to coming to Villanova, I had attended another local university where I was enrolled in graduate-level education courses. After taking three courses, I knew that I wanted to switch to a history program, as I thought it would be more applicable to my career as a high school social studies teacher. My decision to come to Villanova was a difficult one, as it meant studying for and taking the GRE’s, a step up in workload and expectations, as well as a much longer commute. But I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I chose Villanova’s M.A. program specifically because it seemed geared towards teachers. Class meeting times, ease of access to the campus, and the accessibility of the professors have all made Villanova fit easily into my schedule, and the course assignments often have been directly transferrable to my classroom. Each one of my classes at Villanova has been intellectually stimulating, and my professors have all been caring and compassionate towards their students. The feedback I have received on my writing has been incredible; as an AP U.S. history teacher, I have found my writing, and ability to assess my student’s writing, has improved greatly over the course of the last year. Perhaps the biggest revelation has been my classmates. Being in an environment where everyone is driven to succeed, and genuinely interested in our class readings and discussions makes coming to class each week enjoyable and exciting. Currently, I am working with Dr. Giesberg on a research project centered on African American education in Newark during Reconstruction, an experience that has helped me grow immensely as an educator. By immersing myself in the research process, I am better able to engage my students and help them through the process than ever before. There is no doubt in my mind that my time at Villanova has helped me grow as a teacher and a person.
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